Optic Nerve
Optic Nerve

Optic Nerve

About Optic Nerve

Although born from the '80s New York garage scene, the Optic Nerve had nothing whatsoever in common with the movement other than their single-minded idealism to act as if the '80s and the synthesized music that surrounded them was not happening. Rather than using the blaring fuzz tones and screaming the "put down" anthems of the garage rock revival, they took the jangling motifs of the Byrds, the Beatles, and a hint of the mid-'60s protest singers to create a sound that, if spawned in 1965, would have brought them success. In the mid-'80s however, '60s-styled folk-rock was not a huge seller -- even with fans of the neo-garage scene. Acts like the Fuzztones, the Cynics, and the Lyres may have achieved cult underground status, releasing a number of records between them and touring across Europe, but the Optic Nerve only released two singles during their brief existence and rarely played outside of Brooklyn. Bobby Belfiore (main songwriter and singer) formed the nucleus of the band in 1985. Over their two-year tenure, a number of musicians went in and out of their ranks -- including members of garage bands the Fuzztones and Gravedigger V. However, lead guitarist and harmony vocalist Tony Matura was a mainstay, and the combination of his and Belfiore's sweet harmonies and folk-rock jangling gave the Optic Nerve their distinct quality. In 1993 and 1994, both Screaming Apple and Get Hip released an album, each consisting of Optic Nerve demos recorded throughout the mid- to late '80s. Every song deserved to be released at the time of recording, but in an era when garage revival and paisley pop were so popular, the Optic Nerve's country-tinged folk-rock was out of sync with both movements and caused little attention. Thankfully, these albums have gained some belated exposure. In 1999, they re-formed for a performance at Cavestomp in New York. ~ Jon "Mojo" Mills

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